- Vanuatu stated that as a small island developing state, they are at the very forefront of the climate crisis including the impacts of climate change on the ocean.
- The Republic of Vanuatu remains deeply concerned about the introduction of additional pressures on the ocean from other anthropogenic activities.
- They continued that “The ocean is deeply interconnected to the very fabric of our cultures. And the ocean defines us as Pacific people. Current scientific knowledge has provided evidence that deep-sea mining would result in significant and irreversible harm to the unique and diverse ecosystems present in the deep sea. This is why we supported precautionary pause at the International Seabed Authority and we acknowledge the leadership and stand in solidarity with those in our Pacific family Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and Fiji.”
- The delegation stated that they “acknowledge the growing support for a precautionary pause or a moratorium on deep sea mining and we welcome the recent announcements in this respect from a number of member states.
- They added that they are “Convinced that deep-sea mining is not a sustainable solution to the challenges that we are facing today and we cannot call this a clean transition or a green transition if it comes at the cost of biodiversity and nature.
- Vanuatu reiterates the importance of the inclusion of agenda item establishing a general policy by the Assembly related to the consultation of the marine environment under the two year rule, proposed by Chile, Costa Rica, France, Palau, and Vanuatu. Vanuatu states that the direction that the Authority takes on behalf of humankind has enormous implications for present and future generations, and as a result, it is most appropriate that a general policy be established.
- It is Vanuatu’s view that exploitation must not commence until it can be guaranteed that there will be no loss of biodiversity and no harm to the marine environment. No programme of work should be approved at this stage in time either with or without regulations.
- Scientific study is needed for a complete understanding.
- Our approach finds its basis in Article 145 of UNCLOS. And our obligation to act on behalf of humankind as a whole.
- The republic of Vanuatu is committed to UNCLOS Article 145 and we will continue to engage in negotiations.
- As SIDS – we are at the frontlines of climate change – we are concerned about additional pressures. Vanuatu is one of the most vulnerable countries of the world.
- We join the growing calls for a precautionary pause and align with member States making this call. There are different terms that we use precautionary pause or moratorium that we are using in this context – what matters most is the actions not the words.
- Science shows that DSM will cause irreversible damage to the unique biodiversity of the deep sea. It would go beyond harming the seabed. Given the irreversible harm of DSM on the ocean, we have the following priorities:
- 1) Support growing calls for pause on DSM
- 2) RRPs should not be adopted until we have sufficient scientific information until we can be guaranteed no biodiversity loss
- 3) Ask countries to not grant any contracts, as this would be contrary to our international commitments.
- We would like to present preliminary views and general position about the two year rule, for lack of robust scientific information on deep sea ecosystems and biodiversity and the considerable and irreversible, my delegation aligns with member states that express the views the rules, regulations and procedures should not be adopted until we have robust scientific information about biodiversity and impacts.
- RRPs should not be adopted until it can be guaranteed that there will be no loss of biodiversity and no harm to marine environment.
- Vanuatu officially joins growing international call for precautionary pause on deep-sea mining to protect our ocean and aligns with members states of ISA making this call.
- We encourage our fellow pacific states who expressed interest in DSM to step back from the brink and join us in a precautionary approach as a region and as a world.